In which Team Castle tosses tea partiers a curveball: If the right’s new rock star thinks he’s conservative enough, shouldn’t they think so too? I’m … not so sure they should, partly because Christie’s own “true conservative” credentials are slightly less radiant than they were three months ago (remember what he said about immigration and the Ground Zero mosque?) and partly because he’s laying it on awfully thick here. Granted, if you’re going to endorse someone, there’s no sense in holding back on praise. But Mike Castle, who voted for cap and trade, as a guy committed to “controlling spending” and “cutting back the size of government”? Seriously?

There is a reason to prefer Castle — very, very grudgingly — but we’ve already hashed that out. For further thoughts, see Gabe Malor, who wonders why any righty would rather see a Democrat win than a RINO, particularly when it could mean the difference between Democratic and Republican control of all-important Senate committees next year. The response to that argument is usually some variation on the idea that we’re one crushing defeat away from total victory — that if blue states aren’t ready to elect “true conservatives” yet, well, then it’s better to leave Democrats in control so that they can ruin the country even more and eventually produce a real conservative backlash. (Which, I guess, means we shouldn’t have supported RINO Scott Brown in January, since he spoiled Obama’s filibuster-proof majority.) The flaw in this reasoning, of course, is that some things are bound to go right for Democrats despite their dumbest efforts to prevent that from happening. The economy will start to speed up again, even with The One keeping his foot on the brake of the engine of growth (note the car metaphor!), and if the Democrats control Congress when it does, they’ll get plenty of credit from voters. You’re simply not going to get a map that’s completely red, any more than the idiot liberals who were high on Hopenchange two years ago were ever going to get a map that’s completely blue. And as I said yesterday, however much they may irritate you, RINOs are marginally better than Democrats. I recommend re-reading this Doctor Zero post from last year on that subject, after Glenn Beck suggested that McCain would have been worse for the country than Obama. Ain’t so, although it certainly is comforting to believe it.

Exit question: You know whose endorsement would really nail this down for Castle? Ahem.

Update: Further to Gabe’s point, here’s a new piece from Charlie Cook that’s set to drop tomorrow. Title: “The Senate’s In Play.” Do you want it or not?